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The BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Lagos
"The repatriation arrangement is clearly a consequence of the clashes"
 real 28k

Monday, 2 October, 2000, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Nigeria to repatriate nationals from Libya
Colonel Gaddafi with African leaders
The clashes are a blow to Gaddafi's pan-African policy
Nigeria says it will repatriate several thousand illegal Nigerian immigrants currently in Libya, following reports of violence there between locals and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa.


A majority of them have constituted a burden on their host country by engaging in anti-social activities

Nigerian Government statement
A government statement said illegal Nigerian immigrants were endangering their own lives and those of others in their host countries.

In the first official Libyan reference to the clashes, the parliamentary speaker Muhammad al-Zannati declared immigration into Libya must be regulated.

"The great principle of our sharing our income and revenues with our Arab and African brothers is being betrayed," he said.

Embarrassment

In its statement, the Nigerian Government said that, rather than allow the immigrants to continue to soil the good name of their country, it had decided to bring them home.


"A majority of them have over the years constituted a burden on their host country by engaging in various kinds of anti-social activities," the statement said.

Niger Prime Minister Hama Amadou who has just visited Libya to discuss the clashes, said five of his compatriots had died.

But a later report on Niger state radio quoted the Libyan authorities as saying no Niger nationals were killed.

Pan-Africanism

The BBC's correspondent in Lagos, Barnaby Phillips, says the violence is a huge embarrassment to the Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, who is keen to assume the role of a leading statesman on the African continent.

Gaddafi and Mandela
Gaddafi has been trying to play the role of African statesman
Colonel Gaddafi's pan-African policy has led to growing numbers of immigrants from other African countries entering Libya.

Now thought to number about a million, they are said to have become the focus of social and economic resentment.

Dozens of people are reported to have been killed, with one of the most serious reported confrontations involving Chadians and Sudanese in the town of Zawiyah west of Tripoli.

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See also:

29 Sep 00 | Africa
Libyan unrest over immigration
27 Sep 00 | Africa
Libya tightens security
19 Jul 00 | Country profiles
Country profile: Libya
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